Alice in Wonderland (Norman Z McLeod 1933)

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domino harvey
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Alice in Wonderland (Norman Z McLeod 1933)

#1 Post by domino harvey » Sat Dec 12, 2009 1:49 am

Norman Z McLeod's 1933 adaptation of Alice in Wonderland is coming out from Universal on March 2. Edward Everett Horton as the Mad Hatter? Now that's good casting

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Tommaso
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Re: Alice in Wonderland (1933) - Universal in March

#2 Post by Tommaso » Sat Dec 12, 2009 7:00 am

Fabulous! I never even heard of the film, but with Horton in THAT role it sounds like a blind buy.

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Re: Alice in Wonderland (1933) - Universal in March

#3 Post by domino harvey » Sat Dec 12, 2009 9:31 am

Not to mention Cary Grant as Mock Turtle and WC Fields as Humpty Dumpty! This movie sounds insane in a good way

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Re: Alice in Wonderland (1933) - Universal in March

#4 Post by Feego » Sat Dec 12, 2009 11:35 am

Terrific! I caught this several years ago on Turner Classic Movies (I don't believe they've shown it since), and it's pretty...out there. As many have said before, most of the actors (like Grant) are unrecognizable behind their Disney Land-esqe masks and costumes, but there's a lot to enjoy about this somewhat over-the-top affair.

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Re: Alice in Wonderland (1933)

#5 Post by Feego » Sat Dec 12, 2009 2:28 pm

Tentative artwork, courtesy of ClassicFlix.

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knives
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Re: Alice in Wonderland (1933) - Universal in March

#6 Post by knives » Sat Dec 12, 2009 2:55 pm

I just hope Universal doesn't find a way to screw this up too.

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Re: Alice in Wonderland (1933) - Universal in March

#7 Post by HerrSchreck » Sat Dec 12, 2009 2:57 pm

Hilarious-- they create box art that looks so animated that they're forced to write "the LIVE ACTION classic.."

They way they rendered it it looks like the half-animated, half-live action Czech-Soviet classic "A Deadly Invention."

The film actually looks pretty damned cool:

Image
Image

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Jeff
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Re: Alice in Wonderland (1933) - Universal in March

#8 Post by Jeff » Sat Dec 12, 2009 3:37 pm

domino harvey wrote:Not to mention Cary Grant as Mock Turtle and WC Fields as Humpty Dumpty! This movie sounds insane in a good way
...and Gary Cooper as the White Knight, Charlie Ruggles as March Hare, and a Walrus and Carpenter sequence animated by the Max Fleischer Studios.

With screenplay by Joe Mankiewicz and William Cameron Menzies!

Here's the credits sequence (along with the rest of the film, if you like) at YouTube.

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Re: Alice in Wonderland (1933) - Universal in March

#9 Post by HerrSchreck » Sat Dec 12, 2009 4:36 pm

Charlie Ruggles makes me ill. After a long, Ruggles-free stretch, I watched a nice clean print of Murders In The Zoo which I hadn;t seen inna dogs age... and christ the man causes my bones to break out in hairline fractures, and my ears to poof smoke.

"Put down that hatchet NOW, Herr Schreck.. you will NOT run manic up and down 5th Avenue in your bare feet swinging that thing... rather, you will turn OFF the movie NOW."

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Re: Alice in Wonderland (1933) - Universal in March

#10 Post by Mr Sausage » Sat Dec 12, 2009 7:56 pm

Any word on whether this will be the original 90 minute version, or the recut 77 minute version?

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domino harvey
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Re: Alice in Wonderland (1933) - Universal in March

#11 Post by domino harvey » Sat Dec 12, 2009 8:00 pm

77 minutes version

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Re: Alice in Wonderland (1933) - Universal in March

#12 Post by david hare » Sat Dec 12, 2009 9:27 pm

Schreck for your next birthday I'm sending you a copy of Norman Tokar's The Ugly Dachshund - one of those mind breaking 60s Disney family pictures with aberrant parents (including Suzy Pleshette) and the canines substituting for children. Charlie plays the hapless comic interest as the vet and he's as funny as a hatfull of arseholes.
His one (and only) great turn is in Bringing Up Baby.

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Re: Alice in Wonderland (1933) - Universal in March

#13 Post by Feego » Sat Dec 12, 2009 9:31 pm

Wow, what's with all the Ruggles hate? In addition to Bringing Up Baby, I thought he was very funny with Edward Everett Horton in Trouble in Paradise.

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Re: Alice in Wonderland (1933) - Universal in March

#14 Post by david hare » Sat Dec 12, 2009 9:37 pm

Well, Horton also induces teeth grinding, diarrhoea and skin rashes in me.

But his great moment in Trouble is when Herbert Marshall puts him off the scent by whispering something unspeakable into his ear about "Constantinople".

And he is fantastically good, flawlessly cast and very moving in Summer Storm. (But the whole movie exists in the stratosphere. )

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Re: Alice in Wonderland (1933) - Universal in March

#15 Post by solaris72 » Sun Dec 13, 2009 12:11 am

This looks awesome.

Are remakes our best hope for more classic film releases? We've been seeing a lot of old Sherlock Holmes movies released in the past couple of months. I'm not really complaining, just happy to have this stuff released at all, but it's interesting that that's how things seem to be going.

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Re: Alice in Wonderland (1933) - Universal in March

#16 Post by Feego » Sun Dec 13, 2009 12:59 am

solaris72 wrote:Are remakes our best hope for more classic film releases?
Yes, that pretty much sums it up. Whenever a remake of a classic film appears, you can usually expect the studios to lavish some sort of special treatment on the original to cash in. It's great for those of us who want to see the original, but at the same time it's a shame the originals can't garner equal treatment on their own. Let's just be glad this wasn't relegated to VOD.

In addition to this version, Warner Brothers is also re-releasing the 1966 BBC adaptation of Alice. Now if only someone would release a good edition of the 1972 Fiona Fullerton musical...

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Re: Alice in Wonderland (1933) - Universal in March

#17 Post by Tommaso » Sun Dec 13, 2009 8:27 am

david hare wrote:Well, Horton also induces teeth grinding, diarrhoea and skin rashes in me.
Makes me really sad to hear that, but good that you at least mention "Trouble in Paradise" (haven't seen "Summer Storm"). But what about "Gay Divorcee" and "Top Hat"? Or "The Merry Widow"? Sure, he's regularly cast as a dolt, but he plays these parts with a visible delight in this doltishness and with such charm that I can't help getting in a good mood everytime he appears on screen (not laughing at him, but rather being delighted by the wittiness he brings to these roles). Have just watched that brief excerpt from "In Caliente" on the Busby Berkeley Collection extra disc... another exceedingly silly but utterly nice moment.

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Re: Alice in Wonderland (1933) - Universal in March

#18 Post by david hare » Sun Dec 13, 2009 5:46 pm

In Caliente shows him in a particularly obnoxious light. Im glad he gets his comepuppance from the man-eating Judy Canova ("That aint hay.. that's the USA".)

My problem with Horton, like another poster's with Marius Goring is that he's such an unrelieved nelly. And he doesnt particularly shine in the company of other professional sissies like the sublime Franklin, or Grady Sutton or Andy Devine.

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Re: Alice in Wonderland (1933) - Universal in March

#19 Post by Tommaso » Sun Dec 13, 2009 7:44 pm

I see what you mean, but I wonder whether this is just our modern reaction to it. Recently I gave the Korda/Powell version of "The Thief of Bagdad" to a friend of mine who had never seen that film (or something like "The Adventures of Robin Hood" or "The Sea Hawk") before. While he loved that film, unsurprisingly, he still had the impression that it looked like a postmodern and very camp or gay parody of some other, 'serious' films of the time. Now, he of course knew that this wouldn't be the case, but it somehow made me think about whether the audience of the time really perceived that film or - to come back to this topic - Horton's screen persona in the same way that we perhaps tend to do today. In other words: would the audience of the 30s have perceived Horton as obviously 'nellylike' or even only as gay (in a very general sense) as an audience of our time perhaps would? Or would he rather have appeared more as a 'funny character' or comedian in a less specific way?

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Matt
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Re: Alice in Wonderland (1933) - Universal in March

#20 Post by Matt » Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:12 am

It may be splitting hairs, but I think Horton's general persona in the 1930s was more "milquetoast" than "pansy" or "sissy," but he does come pretty close in The Gay Divorcee (c.f. "Let's K-nock K-neez"). Compared to some of the more notorious sissies of the day (Pangborn, Ferdinand Gottschalk, Barnett Parker), Horton is practically John Wayne.

But we've already covered a lot of this ground here.

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Re: Alice in Wonderland (1933) - Universal in March

#21 Post by manicsounds » Mon Dec 14, 2009 7:18 am

This film was supposed to be in the Universal WC Fields set but was pulled at the last minute.

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Re: Alice in Wonderland (1933) - Universal in March

#22 Post by HarryLong » Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:45 am

Mr_sausage wrote:Any word on whether this will be the original 90 minute version, or the recut 77 minute version?
There's a 90 minute version? Is it even still extant?
manicsounds wrote:This film was supposed to be in the Universal WC Fields set but was pulled at the last minute.
Possibly because Fields is so unrecognizable I wonder if it's even him inside that Humpty Dumpty get-up & if he didn't just dub the part.

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Re: Alice in Wonderland (1933) - Universal in March

#23 Post by HerrSchreck » Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:10 pm

Feego wrote:Wow, what's with all the Ruggles hate? In addition to Bringing Up Baby, I thought he was very funny with Edward Everett Horton in Trouble in Paradise.
A great director at the very tippity top of his game in his great masterwork (with an incandescent script) can tie a nice bow on just about anyone.

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Re: Alice in Wonderland (1933) - Universal in March

#24 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:33 pm

HarryLong wrote:
Mr_sausage wrote:Any word on whether this will be the original 90 minute version, or the recut 77 minute version?
There's a 90 minute version? Is it even still extant?
Apparently the version originally released by Paramount was 90 minutes long. When Universal later bought the television and home video rights the movie was cut to 77 minutes. I have no idea if the earlier cut still exists.

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Re: Alice in Wonderland (1933) - Universal in March

#25 Post by Jeff » Sun Dec 20, 2009 12:21 pm

Mr_sausage wrote:Apparently the version originally released by Paramount was 90 minutes long. When Universal later bought the television and home video rights the movie was cut to 77 minutes. I have no idea if the earlier cut still exists.
I've seen that (indicating that it was cut by Universal to fit in a 90 minute television block with commercials) at Wikipedia and a couple of other places, but without any sources. It may have actually been cut by Paramount before its theatrical release. The 35mm nitrate print owned by UCLA clocks in at 76 minutes and their AFI catalogs of those years indicate that was the playing time upon general release.

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